Re: Serious concern/ addition

Date: Tue 02 Sep 2003 - 23:06:35 GMT

  • Next message: "Re: Serious concern/ addition"

    Dans un e-mail daté du 02/09/03 21:20:55 Paris, Madrid (heure d'été), a écrit :

    > > Kyoto has already apparently killed thousands in France, as the French
    > > artificially tax energy in the name of Kyoto to the point that the old
    > > and the poor can't afford air conditioning, and die in temperatures
    > > lower than an Oklahoma summer day.
    > Hi Brad.
    > How did you learn that the poor and elderly in France pay
    > such high taxes on electricity that air conditioning was
    > unaffordable to them? What is the rate per kilowatt hour,
    > before and after taxes, and what were the tax rates before
    > the Kyoto treaty?

    I hesitated to answer the previous e-mail. But I now feel compelled to answer.

    First of all you have to know that the heat wave that hit France (and a large part of Europe) was really exceptional, temperatures were about 10 degrees
    (centigrade) above the normal temperatures for the season. Normal temperatures in France range between 25 and 30 degree centigrade, during the day, in most parts of France and such temperatures last about a couple of weeks at most. This last summer, we had temperatures ranging between 30 and 40 degree centigrade and lasted more than a month...

    The reason people don't have Air conditioning in general, is not linked to the energy cost but to the fact that air conditionning isn't usually required even in summer time. Especially with the type of construction, mainly stones and with windows using shutters which keep the heat out.

    We did however have serious problems with that heat wave as our conservative government has cut funds for services to elderly people as well as their living allowances for people who are still capable to stay at home.

    As a result with the crisis situation, the scarse resources available weren't able to cope with the neds for care of elderly people who suffered from the heat. There wasn't enough personnel either in hospitals to treat people arriving in the emergency department quite dehydrated.

    A lot of these services weren't equipped with Air Conditionning, for the same reason that homes aren't equiped : it isn't necessary when temperatures are within the norm even with a marginof precaution. Further more, it is well known that air conditionning in institutions increases the risk of spreading diseases, even the best designed ones are a risk in that respect. This is why authorities hesitate to install it when normal temperatures don't necessitate it. It is indeed installed for hospitals and institutions in southern parts of France where higher temperatures are more common.

    A semi comic remark (in the context of this discussion) was made by the French conservative Government "People using air conditioning too much inside was one of the reasons why the air outside in the streets was so hot" ........

    Note that walking in the streets of large cities in the USA one has often that felling of getting in a steam bath every time one walks by an air conditioning exhaust... I lived five years on the East Coast of the USA so I know by experience...

    The rate per kilowatt hour is about 0.10 Euros before tax (near 10 cents in US $)
     0.125 Euros afterTax included.

    The price for Gas is very high between 3.5 and 5 US $ per Gallon, but that's all over Europe. Most of it is taxes, something like 85% of the price.

    In 1980 I made an analysis on the energy prices, even after the first petroleum price shock in 1974 the actual price of oil had gone down bellow the oil prices in 1947 in constant US $... These were World market prices, not consummer prices. Consumer prices in Europe had gone up, primarily as a result of higher taxes while in North America the prices had remained in line with the general inflation rates. This trend has not changed since...

    The result is that people in Europe try to have higher efficiency for their heating systems and for their cars. If I remember well, European cars manufacturers have designed cars with a gas mileage far better than most US cars.

    I think this discussion belongs indeed to this forum as a lot of the statements that have been made, including mine, are conveying the most common memes concerning energy and environmental policies. On one side the conservative discourse, on the other side the liberal discourse...
      I think that we all tend to rely too much on publicly available memes, carried by the medias and pubs discussions, to base our decisions in the political field and not enough on serious analysis of available information.

    Paul Trehin

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